by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – A new study by the Austrian Academy of Sciences (AAS) has brought to light a previously hidden section of the Gospel of Matthew, Christian Today reports. The study and its findings have been published in the New Testament Studies journal.
AAS researcher Grigory Kessel discovered the hidden portion of Scripture by using UV light to penetrate layers of text in an ancient manuscript kept at the Vatican in Rome, Italy, Christian Today reports. The newly revealed text is written in the ancient Syriac language and contains parts of Matthew 11-12 which are not included in the later Greek version.
Matthew 12:1 in the Greek reads: “At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath and his disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat.” The newly discovered Syriac text says the disciples “began to pick the heads of grain, rub them in their hands, and eat them,” Christian Today reports. This portion of the text was then scraped off and written over by the scribe.
In a statement to MailOnline, Professor Hugh Houghton, at the University of Birmingham’s Department of Theology and Religion, said the find was “genuine and important.” Houghton added: “Until a few years ago we only knew of two manuscript witnesses to the Old Syriac translation of the gospels and now we have four. The value of the early translations is that they were made from Greek manuscripts which no longer survive, and may provide some of the first evidence for particular readings.”
“The find is important for Christians as the evidence from this document will be incorporated in editions of the Greek New Testament and used by editors to reconstruct the earliest form of the text,” Houghton said. “Given how few manuscripts survive from the first centuries, all pieces are welcome in reconstructing the jigsaw puzzle of the history of the text.”
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